Vauxhall VXR8 - Used

Car Review

VXR8 GTS front action
Vauxhall VXR8, head-on
Vauxhall VXR8, side
Vauxhall VXR8, static
Vauxhall VXR8, side
Vauxhall VXR8, front
Vauxhall VXR8, static
Vauxhall VXR8, action
Vauxhall VXR8, interior

IF you're after a subtle and low-key performance car, don't buy the Vauxhall VXR8.

This is a sports saloon with more vents and grilles than a diesel loco, hiding a wonderfully charismatic 6.2-litre petrol V8 that can catapult you into the stratosphere with almost the same acceleration as a supersonic jet.

That said, firing it up at 6am will not endear you to the neighbours because the rumble from the stovepipe exhausts would wake the dead.

This is not an under-stated Mercedes-AMG that looks just like the base taxi version. This is an in-your-face, out there behemoth with more grunt than a pen full of porkers.

If you want to stand out from the crowd of subtle supercars in the car park, this one will do it in spades. In fact, it will trump just about anything else out there.

Born in the wilds of Australia, where - like the USA - they love their big V8 engines, it was built by Vauxhall's sister company Holden and rebadged and fettled for the UK and other countries.

Basically, this is a true muscle car that would give most heavyweight yanks a hard time.

There are only a few bright colours available from what I've seen - including a banana yellow, eye-searing red and a sort of orange-bronze.

You can see it coming from about four miles and also hear it. If the driver plants his right foot those massive twin exhausts will announce your presence in no uncertain terms.

However, planting said foot too hard is not for the faint hearted because this machine will quite easily fire you into the middle of next week.

While there is only the one engine available, it does come in a range of power outputs. The ‘base' GTS can be had with a reasonable 424bhp in earlier models and that's also what's under the bonnet of the Clubsport.

But the GTS is also available with a small item called a supercharger and this pushes the output up to not less than 576bhp.

Then we come to the chief cook and bottle washer - the GTSR. This large gem is tweaked to give an extra 23 horses, bringing the bonkers total up to no less than 599bhp.

Top speed is limited to 155 miles an hour in all and the zero to 60 miles an hour sprint takes from five seconds downwards.

But, as you would expect, such a behemoth of a machine, with all those cylinders pumping away under the bonnet, is not going to be cheap to run.

With careful driving you might get 20 miles per gallon from the standard GTS and less from all the others.

But if you hit that loud pedal, you'll see that average drop down to 15 or 12mpg very quickly.

Drive is to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual or automatic gearbox and most sold in this country have had the automatic - much the most sensible choice.

The handling and road holding are amazing, with all the right electronics to help stay on the black and narrow, the brakes are stupendous and the lower order cars even ride comfortably over most surfaces.

As you can see from the prices below, this four seat supercar is a bargain secondhand.

They all come with a superb level of equipment, including sat nav, leather recaro seats, cruise, parking sensors, adjustable suspension, massive alloys, carbon fibre trim and just about everything else but the kitchen sink.

Pay about £27,000 for a '14 14-reg Supercharged GTS auto, or £37,000 for the same model on a '16 16 plate.

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